Veteran Wild Oats XI proved that they’ve still got it by taking line honors in the 2014 SOLAS Big Boat Challenge, hosted by the Cruising Yacht Club of Australia on December 9th. Fifteen boats took on the 14 nautical mile course around Sydney Harbor, but all eyes were on the three supermaxis – Wild Oats XI, Perpetual Loyal and Comanche—who were each vying for line honors in the lead-up to the Sydney-Hobart Race starting December 26th.
American boat Comanche finished just 1 minute 22 seconds behind defending Sydney-Hobart line-honors champion Wild Oats XI.
“We were really impressed with Comanche’s speed today,” Wild Oats XI skipper Mark Richards told the Sydney Morning Herald. “They weren’t that far behind us and [conditions] probably suited us more than them.”
Comanche’s skipper, Ken Read, said his crew, with just three days of practice under their belts, “couldn’t be happier” with the outcome. “The boat is design to do exactly the opposite of what we did today,” Read said. “I couldn’t be more proud of the crew after three long days of practicing, figuring out how to get the sails up and down and not embarrass ourselves.”